January 22, 2013

Snowflakes & The NEDC

We have been asked, "Why is that you adopted your babies as embryos through the Snowflakes Program with Nightlight Christian Adoptions, but are traveling to the NEDC (National Embryo Donation Center) for the Frozen Embryo Transfer?"  This is an excellent question and we know that our situation is definitely out of the norm here. Let me explain how we came to this special arrangement.

When a family goes through the Snowflakes program to adopt babies as embryos, Snowflakes allows the adopting family to choose the clinic and doctor of their choice to perform the Frozen Embryo Transfer. When we adopted Sarah and her siblings we had trouble finding a clinic here in Houston and a doctor who would do the transfer for several reasons. One was that because Sarah and her siblings had been frozen close to 12 years at the time of our adoption, the genetic parents had not undergone STD testing since it was not required back then. Now, because of regulations, STD testing is mandatory for all genetic parents before they undergo IVF. The second reason we couldn't find anyone to accept our precious embryos was because after viewing the paperwork on our little ones, no clinic wanted to perform the FET. It came down to where the  doctors saw that there was such a minute chance that any of the embryos would survive the thawing procedure, why bother with harming their competitive and positive statistics? They also continued to try and talk us out of "using" as they put it, "these embryos" when we could use donated eggs with Rhea's sperm and do IVF? We would explain why we did not believe in IVF and we continued to look for another doctor. Finally, Nightlight assisted us in finding a clinic and a doctor who would accept our tiny ones and perform the FET. We traveled to Dallas which was only three hours away. You guys all know the rest and Sarah is here with us.

So jump forward to our current adoption through Snowflakes. We were chosen by a couple to adopt their remaining 8 embryos from 2008. The necessary testing had indeed been completed, but because the genetic mother tested positive for being exposed to the Hep B virus at some point in her life, these little 8 lives were quickly labeled "high risk" by the original clinic. Because of this label, it was very difficult to find a clinic locally who accept our newest family members. Nightlight came to the rescue again. They made a call to Dr. K at the NEDC and Carol the embryologist at the NEDC. After consulting with both Dr. K and Carol, Nightlight called us to tell us that the NEDC would accept our embryos and would accept me for a transfer.

The NEDC has their own EA program where they match families and then do transfers for the adopting parents. Having us come in is an exception and we are grateful to the NEDC and to Dr. K for taking our family. I had a phone consult months ago with Dr. K about the Hep B test results on the genetic mother. He went over all the paperwork and said he saw nothing to concern him that the babies would have any risk of having Hep B.

So, there you have it. The story of how we adopted embryos for our second adoption through Nightlight again, but are having the babies transferred at the NEDC in Knoxville, TN.

Next post: Why do we have to go to the NEDC in February and then turn right around and go in March? What is a "Mock Transfer"? What kinds of medications do I have to take?


  1. That is just wonderful that Dr. K is willing to work with you in this way. What a blessing!! And I am so happy that you and Rhea are giving these embies a chance. It makes me sad that they could have remained frozen due to something like this.

  2. Our embryos were 14 when we adopted them through NEDC (in November). Isn't it amazing how life can be suspended but God still wants it to be born?

  3. I really appreciate the insight into your EA journey! I do have a couple of questions - I hope you don't mind! Would the Dallas clinic you dealt with previously not accept the current set of eight embryos? Or did you just go straight to NEDC, knowing their more openminded stance? We had to deal with angst/indecision from the clinic with our last transfer due to genetic issues - I completely understand the massive headache that ensues...

    On another note, were you able to qualify for Nightlight's Babushka Fund, scholarships offered to help offset the cost of "special need" adoptions? I've got a phone call set up tomorrow to learn more about that Fund itself as well as more information on another set of embryos on their "waiting embryos" page.

  4. Very interesting! I'm so thankful for Dr. K and those at the NEDC who view all life as precious!

  5. Andrea- Not a problem! Ask any question that comes to mind : ) No, our clinic in Dallas would not have been able to accept them. Dr. K told us that clinics have to have a separate lab area to handle any embryos with suspected STD issues due to government regulations. The clinic we used in Dallas was not set up for that.

    You are correct, Nightlight does have a special fund set aside for families looking to adopt "special' children/embryos. Yes, Nightlight has worked out a beautiful arrangement with us. We are so blessed to work with this agency for the second time. THe are super professional and have such a deep love for the children and families.

  6. I think it's beautiful how the two agencies are working together. I have always felt that God has given the nedc favor/better than average stats because of the high priorty they place on life. Thanks for sharing all that has gone on in order to give these little ones a chance.

  7. Thanks, Shannon, for answering my questions! I had no idea the stringent rules for infectious diseases - I learn so much from fellow bloggers!


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